BEIJING BRINGS SUCCESS FOR USA, FRANCE & CANADA IN WATERSKI & WAKEBOARD WORLD CUP
Fifty top ranked athletes from seventeen countries qualified for this World Cup Stop at the spectacular Foban-Emin Water Ski Club located just forty minutes north of the Olympic City of Beijing in China. Constructed just four years ago, the first class facilities delivered one of the highest standards yet both on and off the water.
Within view of the Great Wall of China, the Preliminary Rounds produced a few surprises. In Ladies Shortboard, 10 contestants fought for 4 Finals places. Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE), positioned 6 in the IWSF Rankings, failed to meet the 7050 points level required following an early fall on her first pass. In Mens Shortboard, two of the 14 contestants, Jimmy Siemers (USA) and Richard Abelson (CAN) also came up short. Both took podium places at the earlier Qatar World Cup Stop and did not make it into the final six here in Beijing.
In Wakeboard, almost all of the super stars made it through although the 2005 World Cup winner Louise Moore (GBR) was one of the exceptions.
Following a violent thunder and lightening storm on Saturday night, blue skies and glorious sunshine awaited the enthusiastic audience and athletes for the Sunday Finals. The Ladies Shortboard Final opened up the day. The two youngest athletes, Danyelle Bennett (USA) and Maria Camila Linares (COL), put in outstanding performances. Next came the World Record holder Mandy Nightingale (USA) and as expected, her performance of 7240 points was flawless. Only Clementine Lucine (FRA), the recent Masters winner in the USA and also the World Cup Qatar winner, could prevent Nightingale from winning. Instead of playing safe, Lucine went for broke and paid the price. An early fall gave the title to Nightingale and also provided a place on the podium for both of the two youngest athletes.
Mens Shortboard was less dramatic but equally exciting. Javier Julio (ARG) who took second place at the World Cup Stop last year in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, started the event with a great score of 9,990 points. By the time we got to the last two athletes, nobody had beaten this performance. Second last was the talented Aliaksei Zharnosek (BLR). His performance of 10,280 looked enough to take the title. Only Nicolas LeForestier (FRA) remained. He had an untypical disaster at the earlier Qatar Stop and just two weeks ago, broke his ski. Using last year’s equipment and with all the pressure involved, he returned to his old winning ways with a dominant score of 11,380 to take the title.
The five Pro Women in the Wakeboard Finals included all the super stars. Only Amber Wing (AUS) was unlucky. Hot favourite and the current series leader, Maeghan Major (USA), won last weekend’s World Cup Stop in France and came third in Qatar. Her score of 59.12 however looked low for this title challenge. Next came the Gravity Games and X-Games Champion, Dallas Friday (USA). In spite of an injured finger, she looked unbeatable all weekend. Her score of 75.79 left a huge challenge for the last Rider, Emily Copeland Durham (USA). This two time World Champion who took second place at the earlier Qatar World Cup Stop gave it her all but her score of 63.24 could only capture the silver medal position in Beijing.
The final stage of the Beijing World Cup Stop was the Pro Men Head-to-Head challenge. Most favoured to win was Phillip Soven (USA) – having already taken both the overall 2005 World Cup title and last weekend’s Enghiens-les-Bains title in Paris. That was not to be. Canada’s Rusty Malinoski pulled off the big surprise of the day by beating Soven for one of the final two places. Danny Harf (USA) beat World Champion Jeff Weatherall (NZL) for the other finals slot. In a Harf versus Malinoski duel, Harf had the edge with a win already at the Qatar World Cup Stop plus a third place in France. However, today was Malinoski’s day plus his biggest career win in taking the World Cup Beijing Stop title.
The combined forces of the Foba-Emin Water Ski Club and the Chinese Water Ski Association created a very high quality World Cup Stop. The excellent hospitality and efficient organization will certainly encourage waterski and wakeboard athletes to return to China again as soon as the opportunity arises.
The next World Cup Stop will be in the City of Dubna in Russia.
SHORTBOARD – WOMEN
1. Mandy Nightingale USA) – 7,240
2. Danyelle Bennett (USA) – 6,780
3. Maria Camila Linares (COL) – 6,330
4. Clementine Lucine (FRA) – 3,960
SHORTBOARD – MEN
1. Nicolas LeForestier (FRA) – 11,380
2. Aliaksei Zharnosek (BLR) – 10,280
3. Javier Julio (ARG) – 9,990
4. Jaret Llewellyn (CAN) – 9,810
WAKEBOARD – Pro Women
1. Dallas Friday (USA) – 75.79
2. Emily Copeland (USA) – 63.24
3. Meaghan Major (USA) – 59.12
4. Amber Wing (AUS) – 38.68
WAKEBOARD – Pro Men
1. Rusty Malinoski (CAN) – 80.46
2. Danny Harf (USA) – 79.46
3. Jeff Weatherall (NZL) – 79.56
4. Phillip Soven (USA) – 78.45
CONTACT : Des Burke-Kennedy, Media Chairman, International Waterski Federation
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